Challenge your dismissal
There are 2 ways you might be able to challenge your dismissal:
- appealing through your employer’s appeal process
- making a claim to an employment tribunal - if you have a genuine unfair dismissal claim and have worked for your employer for more than 2 years
Before you appeal to your employer, you need to think carefully about whether you really want your job back. For most people, finding a new job as quickly as possible is the best way to move on from being dismissed - read more about what you can do after you’ve been dismissed.
If you were dismissed for an 'automatically unfair' reason or you were discriminated against, you can make a claim to a tribunal no matter how long you’ve worked for your employer.
You should contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re considering challenging your dismissal - an adviser can help you work out if you have a genuine claim, and your chances of winning it.
Appealing your dismissal with your employer
You can try speaking with your employer to see if they will consider other options, like extra training or completing a probationary period.
If you’re not comfortable speaking to your employer alone, you can get help from a trade union or other organisations. They can go to meetings with you and help negotiate with your employer.
If your company has an appeal process, you can formally appeal your dismissal. Check your intranet or staff handbook, or speak to HR to see what you need to do.
Start your appeal as soon as you can, as there's a time limit if you later want to take legal action. The first step to legal action is a process called 'early conciliation' - you need to start it within 3 months less 1 day of the day you're dismissed. If you're running out of time, you can start early conciliation even if your appeal hasn't finished.
Even if you win your appeal, returning to your job might not be the best outcome for you. For example it might be better to leave with a good reference than stay in a job where you don’t feel fairly treated.
Get help from Acas and ‘early conciliation’
If you've appealed or your employer doesn’t have an appeal process, you might be able to get help from an organisation called Acas.
They'll see if your employer will agree to a free process called ‘early conciliation’ - a way to resolve disputes without going to a tribunal.
Get in touch with Acas as soon as you can - even if you don’t go through early conciliation, you need to have notified Acas before you can make a tribunal claim.
You only have 3 months less a day from being dismissed to begin early conciliation or tell Acas you intend to make a tribunal claim.
You can fill in the form on the Acas website or call the Acas early conciliation helpline to see if they can help with your situation.
Early conciliation helpline: 0300 123 1122
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Calls from landlines and mobiles are included in any free call packages; otherwise landlines are typically charged up to 10p per minute and calls from mobiles typically cost between 3p and 40p per minute.
Deciding if you should make a tribunal claim
Taking your employer to a tribunal is the final way you can challenge your dismissal.
Tribunals can stressful, and you might not win your case.
Before making a claim, you need to have:
- already notified Acas
- got an early conciliation certificate from Acas
You might get some compensation if the tribunal rules in your favour. Any compensation will usually be based on your weekly pay.
The tribunal will look at whether your employer acted reasonably under the law. For example, if your employer dismissed you for being aggressive, the tribunal will look to see if the decision to dismiss you was reasonable - not whether you were aggressive.
You only have 3 months less a day from being dismissed to begin early conciliation or tell Acas you intend to make a claim to an employment tribunal, so contact your nearest Citizens Advice straight away if you’re thinking about making a claim.
You’ll need to show the tribunal evidence that your employer didn’t have a fair reason for dismissing you.
Read more about how the tribunal will assess your claim and the evidence you’ll need to show.